Wednesday, November 10, 2010

[un]common threads

     Today I finished embroidering the name on a stocking I sold over at my etsy shop. I taught myself to embroider through trial and error and that trademark fearlessness (insanity?) that has gotten me through most of my 41 years of life. Once I was finished stitching those 5 very important letters onto the pretty stocking, I held it out at arm's length to study my work. I don't have some fancy expensive embroidery machine, so the letters aren't exactly the same size and the spacing might be a wee bit left of perfect, but I do put something into each stitch that a big fancy computer programmed embroidery machine can't, I put my heart, love and soul into it. Sure, maybe that sounds schmucky, but if you've ever made something with your own hands, you probably  understand what I mean. At first I worried that maybe the hand work looked dorky and amateurish, but after letting the stocking hang where I could see it for a few hours, I think it's truly magical. Magic that I made and someone else saw and wanted to buy. That's a great feeling.
     In an age of devices, convenience, mass marketing, outsourcing, and an insane need to have everything done immediately if not sooner, taking the time to do work by hand despite the fact that there are several machines available for purchase that will do the work for me might seem like a ridiculous waste of time. For me, it's kind of like writing letters to friends, it's a lost art in need of revival and I am proud to be one of those deeply entrenched in a community of crafters & artists devoted to keeping this art alive.
    Admittedly, without devices of electronic convenience, I wouldn't be typing this on my laptop for your nearly immediate reading pleasure. I'm not bashing all modern conveniences and implying that I want to live an Amish existence. I have grown rather fond of my little smart phone and shiny new laptop with all the letters still on the keys. I do like wandering around a shopping center once in a while looking for things I'm convinced I could make better. And...I even enjoy the occasional meal of take out food! (Shocked? Get used to it, won't be the first time!) As much as I'd love to live on and feed my family from my own sustainable, Eco-friendly, organic farm, I live in a Stepford like master planned community (but I do manage to grow a fair amount of my own fruits, herbs, veggies &  5 varieties of very very hot peppers in my suburban back yard!) Most days, I'm designing and creating with the din of explosions and chaos coming from an X-box being played at a brain addling volume on the obscenely large television my spouse just had to purchase, but despite all that, my hands are happiest when they are making something nifty.
     What's your favorite way to shun technology?


  1. I used to cartoon as a pastime. I haven't done that in over 30 years. I still play the guitar and even though sometimes it's an electric the notes and chords still originate in my mind and are created with my fingers. I too feel the constant need to create something out of nothing. It's fun and satisfying to create something that didn't exist before.

  2. I have a poor neglected acoustic guitar I would love to learn to play...And a piano in dire need of tuning...But until Ninja 2.0 arrives to help, I'll have to focus my creativity on making nifty stuff *grins*.

    Next time I'm in Boston, I'm putting in a request for a Paul concert.

  3. Read a book

    great post, have a good day

  4. Hmmmm - I will have to have a think about what I should create these days...

  5. saw your comment a click away and and read the above. The phrase "I put my heart, love and soul into it." leapt from the screen. The very same sentiments used when cooking was more than switching on the microwave. In england, 5 sundays before christmas is called stir up sunday where the above sentiments were concentrated on the day's task. My stand against technology? I have neither microwave nor cell phone !

  6. Technology is how I earn a living by pretending to look like an expert helping kids & teachers learning experience be a little easier, meaning more often than not I tend to bring my work home.

    However after the festive season, I want to cut down a bit so I don’t always get tempted to reply to my work emails on the Blackberry etc. I miss the pub and reading a book and watching rubbish TV etc

    Happy thanksgiving. ;)

  7. I guess my weird thing I do about tech is to not have cable and have torturously slow internet :P
    I would like to get back to painting & cross-stitch.

  8. So HERE you are!!! I thought I had lost you even tho we're neighbors. So glad you found me!! MWAAAAAHHH!

    The cold sucks but I'm kinda enjoying the occasional rain showers. I'll add myself as a devoted follower and if you haven't on my blog, get busy!! I don't know if you use Facebook but I'm there as Bob Bowers, along with 1400 idiots with the same name. I just showed you mine, so you show me yours!!

    Love Ya Sweetie!! Let's keep in touch and please keep blogging!


  9. I think it is challenging to accept and sometimes embrace the new, while at the same time savoring and conserving what was valuable of the old. When I was very small I lived for a time on a farm in Ireland. About once a week the people living near the relatives I was living with would have a ceilidh, which is a kind of small party with eating and drinking and storytelling and music making. I learned a lot of wonderful old Irish folksongs during that time but I also reflect now that I am happy my mother had left me a tape recorder with which I could record some of those music making sessions. Leaving me a tangible imprint from the past in a time and place where they did not even have a phone or indoor plumbing.